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Urgent: Action Needed for Arctic Refuge

November 18, 2004 | Environment / Take Action

The Bush administration is once again pushing to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Evidence of its efforts are expected early in the 109th Congress, when legislators might work through several angles, inserting drilling provisions into the budget bill as well as into the energy bill.

The reasons to preserve the Arctic Refuge have not changed since the 108th Congress did so. In important ways, this pristine land does not just belong to us. It provides a home for more than 200 species of birds and animals including Tundra swans, caribou, polar bears, grizzly bears and wolves. It belongs to all of them, and to the world.

Moreover, drilling will not significantly lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The oil of the Arctic Refuge would not be available for another 10 years, and would provide only a 6-month supply.

Congress must hear from its constituents if we are to save the Arctic Refuge.

Please contact your Senators and Congressional Representatives and ask them to actively oppose any and all attempts to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and exploration.

It is especially helpful to visit the state offices of your Senator or Representatives. If you are able to do this, contact Bill Dollinger in our Washington DC office, at (202) 296-2172.

You can locate your Senators and Representatives at

The Honorable ____________________________
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Congressional Switchboard 202-224-3121

The Honorable ____________________________
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Congressional Switchboard 202-224-3121


Friends of Animals has been to Prudhoe Bay and to the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge. Prudhoe Bay is an industrial complex. We cannot allow this to happen to the Arctic Refuge. Far from containing "nothing," the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain is the nation's most important polar bear denning habitat on land. It also hosts up to 300,000 snow geese readying themselves for their southern migration. The Porcupine River herd is nearly six times the size of the Central Arctic herd, but utilizes a birthing and nursing ground which is one-fifth the size of the smaller herd. For 25 years, they have consistently used the area of the Coastal Plain which is proposed for oil development. According to the International Porcupine Caribou Board, there is no alternative habitat. The 16 billion barrel estimate you have cited does not take into account the economic factors. The most recent study done by U.S. Geological Survey in 1998 predicted that an average of 3.2 billion barrels of economically recoverable oil might be found in the Coastal Plain. Bill Dollinger Friends of Animals

Get your facts straight. It is fine to have a difference of opinion and to fight for a cause, but it is flat wrong when you when you lie to your own membership and energize a national grass roots movement based on pure falsehoods. Current US Dept of Interior data has estimated about 16 Billion barrels of recoverable oil in the ANWR Coastal Plain. Production facilities already in place can handle about 1 million barrels per day and it will only take a simple spur line to connect new fields to existing facilities. Only 2000 acres of the 17,500,000 in ANWR are being considered for development. This particular area has NOTHING on it and is located adjacent to the existing Prudhoe Bay fields along the Arctic coast. The reason for the 10 year delay is that is how long it will take to do the environmental and planning studies, submit for appropriate permits, allow public and government review of all construction and operational plans, then working only during the dead of winter, move drilling rigs into the area on ice roads to drill the required wells, then move everything back off the area before spring thaw each year, all while being closely monitored by private and government regulators to make sure things are done safely, cleanly, and without environmental impact. ANWR does not include the ocean floor and the state is already starting to sell oil rights for the off shore areas along the ANWR Coastal Plain, so they are going to get some of the oil anyway. Drilling offshore in the Arctic Ocean is a very risky operation that poses much greater potential for impact due to the powerful ice floes that can damage oil pipelines. On shore production is much safer and cleaner than you could imagine. Construction and drilling operations are only performed in the winter by using ice roads that completely melt away in the spring leaving no sign that we were even there. Directional drilling technology means that a single pad with a few very small and unobtrusive boxes on it can collect oil from a 5 mile radius and send it to the existing production facilities via a single elevated 8" pipeline. These pipelines have been proven over the last 26 years to have zero impact on any wildlife in the region, including the thousands of migrating Caribou that continue to pass without impact through the existing oil fields just to the West of the ANWR Coastal Plain. If you'll look up the census figures, you'll see that all wildlife populations in the existing oil fields next to ANWR have continued to grow at rates equal to those areas where oil production is prohibited. A prime example is the Central Arctic Caribou Herd which has grown from about 3,000 in the mid-70's to over 32,000 in recent years. And as with all other oil fields in Alaska, as the facilities are no longer required, they are removed by the oil companies and the land is returned to its pristine condition so you can't even tell we were there. There are many more economic and social aspects that promote development of the ANWR Coastal Plain, but I'll toss in just one more item to think about... it is the oil company profits that come out of places like Alaska that directly provide the research and development money needed for making alternative fuel sources work. BP and ConocoPhillips own the majority of the Alaskan North Slope oil production, and they also happen to be the leading researchers for Natural Gas, Solar, Hydrogen, and other clean fuels. What you really ought to ask yourself is how you feel about destroying the environment in other parts of the world where there is no system of governmental checks or environmental regulations to keep those foreign oil companies from producing oil in such a smart and environmentally friendly manner as we do in the United States. If we don't get the oil here, it will come from over there. Your efforts might be better directed at educating Joe Public about where the gas for his car is coming from and what impact that is having on the animal world overseas, because it sure isn't hurting anything in America's environment.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates is that less than a six-month supply of oil could be economically recovered from the Arctic refuge (about 3.2 billion barrels, spread out over a 50-year period), and that it would take at least 10 years of exploration, drilling, and pipeline construction before the oil would reach refineries. In 2027, the projected peak year of production, the Arctic Refuge would yield less than 2% of projected U.S. consumption. We should work on phasing out fossil fuel use well before that date; to continue to urge for the drilling and burning of fossil fuels is to flagrantly ignore what leading scientists — even those working for the World Bank — are telling us about the perils of greenhouse emissions.

How can anyone even think of destroying the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for 6 months of oil?

I wish we could contact our legislators in person, but in Alaska the capitol is in Juneau. This is a 500 mile $800 journey for most Alaskans - a very smart ploy by our 'public servants.' I also with I could contact them morally...but their ship of greed and deception has long sailed. It is headed toward the drilling horizon, but with the work of FoA we can all make it a big brick wall. Save the refuge! Scott

All the damage and destruction and death that would be caused by oil drilling in the arctic national wildlife refuge is not worth it. Six months of oil can be found in other places. This refuge has been there for the wildlife for many many years and none of us have the right to remove it. It's wrong and the people have the right to oppose, not just for now but for always. We shouldn't have to go thru this year after year. Say it isn't so, and leave the animals alone to be wild.

Nowadays we have being trying to solve the impacts done to the environment, to the wildlife and to us!!! from acts of decades ago. is it worth to sacrifice a whole ecosystem again? when are we going to stop destroying what is left!!! is that the reason to live for us: "destroy to restore it"

First of all it is much, much more than 6 months of oil, and had we opened the refuge when ALASKANS had wanted to, we would have the oil now! Had you goofballs been around 40 years ago we would never had gotten Prudo Bay, which by the way is stil going strong with an INCREASE in the wildlife population!! Go figure!! A 40+ year Alaskan


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